April 5, 2020
Zhi Kai Vanderford
Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee
I am a trans male, been on testosterone about a year here. I am a Minnesota lifer that they sent out of state for 14 years in California, 12 years in Oklahoma, and the rest of the time broken up in Minnesota, so a total of 33 years.
The inmates here are fortunate—we have each been issued a mask and told we will get a new one monthly. But out of all the staff, and they are coming in [from the outside world], I have only ever seen one wear a mask—a foreigner—a nurse, bless his heart. The rest of these jackholes are ignorant young folks that feel fine—of course they do. They are asymptomatic.
Of course, what is the excuse of the 2 old geezer doctors that I saw? They don’t care about our health. They joke it is inmate population control.
And the inmates I spoke with are saving their masks for when they are needed. When people are actually dying. But there are Minnesota prisons that have it [COVID].
Thank you for keeping me in the loop and being a lifeline. If I get more time, I will draw or write. Feel free to print my work. Just give me credit. Maybe I can get things improved here.
Dakota Rose Austin
Kern Valley State Prison, California
Ms. Dakota Rose, a trans woman incarcerated in California, asks for help to stop the violence against LGBTQ people housed in the Sensitive Needs Yard, a place intended to keep them safe from homophobic and transphobic attacks. Various populations at risk of harm are placed there, not just LGBTQ people. For more information, see this resource written by currently and formerly incarcerated trans activists.
“My Cup of Tea”
To all of my incarcerated trans-sisters/brothers and non-binary identifying individuals, what’s Gucci! I am Dakota Rose, an incarcerated trans-woman, African Am. who was privileged to read my sis-in-solidarity, Fatima M. Shabazz’ submitted article regarding “transgender housing in prison.” Instinctively, I felt a sense of pride, compelled to interject my perspective and push for out (LGBTQ) advocacy, activism and overdue civil recourse.
Currently I am housed at Kern Valley State Prison, a max security level IV (180 design) SNY/NDO (sensitive needs yard/non-designated) in which a vast majority of the population are identified by CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] administration as STGs (security threat group/gang members). CDCR administrators, such as Sec. Scott Kernan in conjunction with C. Pfeiffer, K.V.S.P. warden, have knowingly condoned a perilous homophobic and transphobic culture, which has subsequently led to various hate crime acts of violence, discrimination, sexual harassment and assaults upon the LGBTQ population.
Continue reading “LGBTQ Prison Testimonies: Dakota Rose in California” →
By Ms. Juicy Queen Bee
From PHN Issue 46, Spring/Summer 2021
I’ve been on my treatment for over 3 years. Here are some tips:
- Wait, don’t rush—let the process take its course.
- The doctor is actually doing what you go through on the street, checking your mental health to find out what psychological help you may need and to make sure you are prepared.
- Most people think getting on the hormones they’re going to get the result they want ASAP, but it may take some patience, or it may not be exactly the result you want.
- When you start taking estrogen, you may find that your mood swings change and your emotional state changes.
- The older you start, the higher you are at risk for certain health issues.
- If you take certain medications, you may not be able to take hormones until they replace them, or you may need to take the medications differently.
By Fatima Malika Shabazz
From PHN Issue 41, Winter 2020
Hello everyone: Since it’s been so long since I’ve written an article for Prison Health News, it makes sense that I introduce myself. My name is Fatima Malika Shabazz. I am a formerly incarcerated Afican American Transwoman. The last time I wrote anything for Prison Health News, it was due to a civil action I filed against the California Department of Corrections. Since that time, I have been released on parole; I have also been heavily involved in advocacy and activism surrounding either reforming or eliminating bad department of corrections policies related to the trans population.
By Seth Lamming
From PHN Issue 41, Winter 2020
In October 2019, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new medicine, Descovy, for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV. PrEP is a drug regimen that people can take daily or on a particular schedule to prevent getting HIV from sex. PrEP has not been proven to be effective in preventing HIV transmission through needle sharing. Descovy (made up of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide) and Truvada (made up of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) are the only two medications that can be used for PrEP. They are both frequently prescribed as treatment options for people who have HIV. Descovy and Truvada are both nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, which means they stop HIV
DNA from being copied from its RNA blueprints. This stops HIV from replicating. Most people in prisons and jails are not prescribed these meds for PrEP. The “logic” is that people in prisons and jails do not need PrEP because they are not allowed to engage in sexual activities while incarcerated.
By Caleb Christ
From PHN Issue 40, Summer/Fall 2019
The TGI Justice Project (TGIJP) is a group of transgender, gender variant, and intersex people inside and outside prisons, jails, and detention centers. They work to create community and share resources with transgender, gender variant, and intersex (TGI) people navigating incarceration, re-entry, and surviving in communities that are highly policed. TGIJP works with community members and legal experts to end human rights abuses and police violence against TGI people in prisons, jails, detention centers, and beyond.